Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

July 20, 2022

Landsat Updates are prepared periodically and distributed electronically to provide information about Landsat activities and related topics of interest.

In this issue:


Landsat – Reflecting on 50 Years

Color logo that reads "Celebrating 50 Years, Landsat 1972-2022"

The Landsat program is a legacy for Earth observations. This joint U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) experiment started on July 23, 1972 with the launch of the Earth Resources Technology Satellite, later renamed Landsat 1. Over the last 50 years, the Landsat series of satellites has acquired data globally and has over 10 milion images in its archive.

The Landsat archive is an invaluable resource for scientists, researchers, land managers, and decision makers across the globe. From every planetary pixel, information is gleaned that is used for atmospheric sciences to zoological research and everything in between. It is also a resource that is freely available for download to all users.

Landsat has captured many historic moments over the years. Momentous occasions like the Mount St. Helens eruption and recovery, the Chernobyl disaster area, the disappearing Aral Sea, the Yellowstone fires of 1988, and worldwide glacial retreat are recorded in the Landsat Archive. One of the most amazing things about the Landsat archive, is the 50 years of change seen across our planet; watching urban growth, cycles in forestry after fires, rehabilitation from floods and disasters, or even the ability to use the data to forecast what the future might bring based on current pixels and trends observed through Landsat data.     


Landsat’s Enduring Legacy Available Online

Craving information about Landsat’s history? Landsat’s Enduring Legacy: Pioneering Global Land Observations from Space (2017) is now available for download as a PDF at no cost. This 600-page book is the summation of over 15 years of research from the NASA History Office. Learn about the long history of the Landsat program, its visionaries, and its technological challenges and triumphs


New USGS Video Features Landsat History

Illustration of Landsat satellite generations over 50 years


Fifty years of teamwork. Fifty years of innovation. Fifty years of resilience. In 1966, Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall announced his vision to create a program aimed at gathering facts about the natural resources of the Earth from Earth orbiting satellites. It was a bold proclamation. It was also an idea that worked and continues to work 50 years on.

Learn more about the history of Landsat in this 20 minute video.



New 50th Anniversary Website Showcases the Landsat Program

The Landsat program changed the world, just by looking at it. On a planet now orbited and observed by thousands of satellites, one where Earth surface imagery is just a tap away on any smartphone map, it is easy to lose sight of just how revolutionary that idea was. Visit the Landsat Legacy website to explore engaging content like interactive Storymaps, articles, podcasts, and lesson plans.


USGS Series Highlight the 50th Anniversary of Landsat

Celebrating 50 years of continuous Earth observation, the joint U.S. Geological Survey/NASA Landsat program of Earth observation satellites provides a broad range of scientists, professional analysts, and ordinary citizens around the globe with accurate and impartial Earth imagery and data.

Landsat 9 Image of Ross Island
This Landsat 9 images shows Ross Island, off the coast of Antarctica. Ross Island is the home to the The U.S. Antarctic research station, McMurdo Station.

Sharing Earth information for the benefit of all

Since its inaugural launch on July 23, 1972, the Landsat satellite series has drawn the world’s longest and most comprehensive portrait of our planet, from 400 miles in space, that stretches across five decades of time. This unique and priceless data from Landsat enables scientists and analysts around the globe to detect and monitor critical changes in the Earth’s landscapes, surface waters, and coastal ecosystems. (Read More)

Pioneer in promoting food security from space

Landsat’s power to systematically observe the Earth’s land surfaces is revolutionary in monitoring agriculture, drought, invasive species, crop impacts, and more aiding in U.S. efforts to addressing the relentless issue of food security. (Read More)

Observing Global Forests from above the Canopy

Landsat images are routinely used by scientists, resource managers, and businesspeople to observe forest conditions around our planet. Through their continuous monitoring, Landsat satellites produce images over time that reveal stark changes in forests, such as illegal timber harvesting or wildfires, and more subtle changes, such as forest diseases, insect infestations, and species relocation. (Read More)

Impartial Eye on Climate Change

The Landsat archive of decades of change on the Earth is a brilliant starting point for a rigorous scientific analysis of climate change. The Landsat record stretches for a half century, long enough for climate trends to be detected. Landsat’s automated collecting mechanisms are starkly transparent. Its data are carefully calibrated to allow for technical advancements in instrumentation while still enabling valid comparisons across many years. Furthermore, the entire data archive is freely available to any analyst around the world. (Read more)

Watchman for Wildfires

Worldwide, fire plays a critical role in maintaining the resilience of ecosystems such as forests and grasslands. Yet, unplanned wildfires can be undeniably damaging to local communities and ecosystems. Homes and other structures can be destroyed, and air quality can be impacted for miles. During the long summer months, wildfires occur more often and with greater intensity. Data and imagery from the joint USGS/NASA Landsat satellites play a critical role in understanding the impact, severity, and extent of large fires. (Read more)

Observing Earth to Look Forward

Massive volumes of carefully calibrated Landsat data allow observations from one period or one geographic area to be compared to others across time and geographic locations, enabling scientific insights that no other single data source can provide. As a civilian pioneer in land observation from space, and now in partnership with other commercial and international systems, the Landsat program has allowed humanity across the globe to see ourselves – and our actions that affect the Earth – clearly, at length, without political or cultural bias. (Read more)


Landsat: Helping Us Help Ourselves for 50 Years

Landsat satellites reveal details and secrets of the Earth’s land that are missed standing on its very surface. They provide information to help us help ourselves, as we fight the risk of threats such as heat waves and wildfires and strive to manage resources like diminishing water supplies. (Read More)


Landsat Archive Dashboard Displays Distribution of Data

Example of the Landsat Archive Dashboard Graphic Outputs

Showcasing 50 years of Landsat data, the new Landsat Archive Dashboard provides interactive maps showing the temporal and spatial distribution of Landsat data in the USGS archive.

This tool provides maps highlighting Collection 2 Level-1 and Level-2 products for either World Reference System-1 or World Reference System-2 by path/row. A product summary statistics page is also provided for Landsat 1 through 9.

Maps and the statistics page can filter on multiple categories, such as spacecraft ID, sensor ID, year acquired, processing level, and collection category. Try the tool out here!



Try the How Do You Landsat? Interactive Tool

Stemming from the 2008 open data policy, several innovations in Landsat data usage have created new niches far exceeding earlier expectations of the Landsat archive. An explosion of articles and publications resulted from the new access to 50 years of remote sensing data. A new interactive tool was created to highlight articles and publications featuring Landsat data for research, applications, and developing methodologies.

With the new interactive tool, users can navigate Landsat articles by location or interest (water, agriculture, hazard, etc.). Please follow #HowDoYouLandsat or #HDYL on USGS Landsat social media pages for recently highlighted publications. 


Eyes on Earth

Coming July 25!  A new episode of Eyes on Earth Podcast will highlight previous Landsat podcasts of Landsat science, data, and exciting tidbits from the Landsat 9 launch. This episode showcases the longevity of the 50 year Landsat mission. Listen to previously recorded full length Landsat episodes.


Pecora 2022 Around the Corner

Pecora 22 Graphic Element

Pecora 22 is right around the corner! The 22nd William T. Pecora Memorial Remote Sensing Symposium meets in Denver, CO, October 23 – 27, 2022. This year’s conference is hosted by USGS and NASA with the theme Opening the Aperture to Innovation: Expanding our Collective Understanding of a Changing Earth. This theme is representative of 50 years of the innovations and discoveries from the Landsat sensors.

For more information or to register, visit the Pecora website.




Landsat Missions Website:

Landsat Headlines:

Landsat Updates:

Latest in Landsat Newsletter:

Landsat RSS Feeds:

USGS EROS Customer Services       


Phone: 1-800-252-4547

Social Media


USGS Landsat: @USGSLandsat

NASA Landsat: @NASA_Landsat


USGS: @USGSLandsatProgram 

NASA Landsat: @NASA_Landsat


USGS: @USGSLandsat




Get Our News

These items are in the RSS feed format (Really Simple Syndication) based on categories such as topics, locations, and more. You can install and RSS reader browser extension, software, or use a third-party service to receive immediate news updates depending on the feed that you have added. If you click the feed links below, they may look strange because they are simply XML code. An RSS reader can easily read this code and push out a notification to you when something new is posted to our site.